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Tycho / on Mon, Apr 22 2002 at 7:09 am

Layne Staley

I’ve never felt it was proper (or possible, really) to speak with familiarity and sincerity regarding the passing of this celebrity or that celebrity.  I do, however, enjoy telling stories.

It is critical to note that I literally loved the Lord all the way up until seventeen, engaged in a fair bit of Xenoglossia, and generally felt very guilty almost all the time.  For many years afterward, I basically blamed everything on God, which was great because God never argued back.  I won by default. 

Riding the bus from Spokane to Seattle, I was seated across the way from a girl about my age, who was seated next to a girl her age.  A discussion ensued.  Ordinarily, extemporaneous conversations with strangers - let alone strangers who are also cute girls - constricted every muscle in my body, but they made it easy by laughing at almost everything I said.  I tried not to think about why (Am I being funny?  Am I being inane?), but it so happened that one of them left a seat open, and it was indicated that I was to take this seat.  It would have been rude not to take it, I thought to myself.  Also, she smelled like some impossible fruit.

She offered me her headphones when I told her I’d never heard of “Alice In Chains,” which was apparently very big where she lived.  Even the name seemed somehow illicit.  I’d never heard anything like it, because I wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio or watch the devil’s Music Television.  When I heard a haunted voice sing:

can you save my eyes?
can you sew them shut?

I was horrified, I’d never heard anything like that.  It was about to get worse.

jesus christ
deny your maker

I’m being honest with you: I didn’t realize you could say something like that and not be struck dead where you stood.  That song altered the fundamental properties of nature.   


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